BC Transit offering free rides on Victoria and Nanaimo services during pandemic

Mar 19 2020, 10:58 am

The provincial transit authority has implemented a series of changes for its operations in its service areas of Victoria and Nanaimo for the next 30 days, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

BC Transit announced today it has initiated free transit within Victoria for the next 30 days for both its conventional and HandyDART systems.

Rear door boarding will be permitted on both the Victoria and Nanaimo services to allow improved social distancing for drivers and passengers. Passengers can still load through the front door if they need to use the ramp or other accessible features of the bus.

Free transit will be implemented in Victoria for at least 30 days, while there is currently no cutoff date for this Nanaimo service change.

However, service changes in recent weeks have also involved cancelling some scheduled trips due to plummeting ridership demand. BC Transit is advising passengers to check their bus schedules before departure.

“BC Transit continues to adjust to the fluid situation along with other businesses and agencies in Canada and around the world. We are working to match ridership with demand and expect to have daily trip cancellations for the foreseeable future,” reads a bulletin by the transit authority.

“We will update customers on a day-by-day basis while we work on implementing and communicating a new sustainable plan for service.”

Like TransLink in Metro Vancouver, the provincial transit authority has enacted enhanced cleaning measures, including daily cleaning, disinfecting cleaning for frequently touched areas such as stanchions, hand straps, stop buttons, doors, and seats.

Earlier this week, provincial health officials noted they are exploring potential operational changes to public transit services, such as capacity limits inside vehicles to prevent overcrowding and promote social distancing.

Public transit remains an important service for those who need to buy groceries and to get to work, including hospital workers.

With coronavirus on the rise, BC public health authorities are reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.